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Aug 26, 2012 4:03 PM by Lacey Steele

Evacuations continue at offshore oil rigs ahead of Isaac

The federal government says oil and gas operators continue to evacuate offshore platforms and rigs in Tropical Storm Isaac's likely path through the Gulf of Mexico.

The bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement says 39 production platforms and eight drilling rigs have been evacuated.

That's about 6.5 percent of the 596 manned platforms and 10.5 percent of the 76 rigs operating in the Gulf of Mexico.

Evacuation procedures include closing safety valves under the ocean floor to avoid pollution in case a rig or platform is damaged.

The bureau says operators estimate that about 24 percent of the current daily oil production and 8 percent of natural gas production has been cut off.

Isaac is expected to make landfall along the northern Gulf Coast early Wednesday as a Category 2 hurricane with winds around 100 mph.

Rig evacuations began Friday.

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